New Video: Links Between Big Tobacco and Climate Denial – “Rhymes with Smoky Joe”

November 25, 2013

“Smokey Joe” Barton is known for apologizing to BP after the 2010 Oil spill, and harassing climate scientists.

Turns out he’s also been a key connection between the tobacco industry and the climate denial industry. Archival footage from ABC News on the tobacco wars of the 90s turns up sequences of Smoky Joe in action on behalf of Big Cancer, digs up haunting parallels between the tactics of Big Tobacco and Big Fossil Fuel, and reminds us of the origins of the anti-science movement.
Poignant to see the late Peter Jennings in action, and remember what it was like when there was at least some tough, probing journalism with a moral compass on mainstream media.

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34 Responses to “New Video: Links Between Big Tobacco and Climate Denial – “Rhymes with Smoky Joe””

  1. omnologos Says:

    What I can’t understand is Peter’s relationship with a mass of strange characters, and especially Oreskes, Mann (and Masters). It’s like seeing somebody fixate on some completely irrelevant conspiracy theory that might or might not be true, but has zero consequence on the topic at hand.

    For example it is hard to imagine how 19 and counting COP meetings, lately with thousands and thousands of people attending including a great number of government representatives, would even happen if Big Tobacco, I mean Big Oil were so pervasive and powerful as described. How many more billions have the USA to spend on climate change research before dispelling the conspiracy theory, one wonders. Etc etc.

    As far as I am concerned, Barton and more or less any Congressmen or women have zero relevance to my thoughts on climate change, and I suspect the same applies to the vast majority of skeptics I am in contact with. I do not get inspiration from Barton, I do not read what Barton says, I do not even know how Barton looks like unless I google his name etc.

    Come to think, when Oreskes is mentioned the only name that springs to mind is Frederick G. Fisher, Jr.

    • skeptictmac57 Says:

      Ironically, most active AGW skeptics know much more about climate science than the average constituents of these denialist politicians such as Barton,Inholfe,Bachmann,Perry,Paul,Pawlenty,Rohbacher,Rubio,etc.,but they (the skeptics) have drawn the wrong conclusions.
      The denier pols lead their same party constituents down the wrong path by the stance that they take. Those voters,bolstered by a steady drum beat by their preferred news outlets (Murdoch’s empire especially) follow blindly along without knowing the first thing about climate science,and probably could not name two actual climate scientists or have any idea how CO2 causes the greenhouse effect.
      That influence is why these guys are so dangerous,along with the fact that they actually have the power to affect the course that government takes to address the challenges of AGW.

    • anotheralionel Says:

      What I can’t understand is…

      There appears to be much that you don’t understand, as we have learned.

      Do you not appreciate that the fossil fuel industry has appropriated the Tobacco industry denial mechanisms as their templates for actions to hold up regulation of this health and climate damaging method of providing energy for civilisation.

      Have you not twigged the historical rhyming of this?

      Do you not know about the work of Barton, in conjunction with Wegman, [1] which wasted US tax payers dollars in an enquiry into climate science which was nothing less than a witch hunt based upon lies and distorted statistics.

      That you should bring up Frederick G. Fisher Jr. on this one is nothing short of ironic.

      Instead of insulting Oreskes, Mann and Masters perhaps you should read more about how the denial machine has operated and stop displaying such hubris.

      [1] You could start here.

      • omnologos Says:

        This fantastic “denial machine” was nowhere to be see in the whole of the EU when eg ETS or 20/20/20 were pushed forward, and not at all in the UK, when the Climate Change Act was voted almost unanimously. It has never prevented any UNFCCC or COP or IPCC report or thousands of delegates being sent around the world, or or or.

        It’s just an American conspiracy theory, by people who appear to have forgotten that the American political system includes lobbying, from all sides.

        • anotheralionel Says:

          Have you never heard of the GWPF, users of smoke and mirrors and purveyors of all manner of propaganda under the cover of Charity Status? Also having connections to The Heartland Institute and other purveyors of untruths in the US and the antipodes.

          See here for lists of those involved.

          You really are a class act omno’

          • omnologos Says:

            I know in the conspiracist mind no evidence will ever be enough evidence but still…to mention the GWPF (UK-based, from the land with the most far fetching climate change legislation in the world) and its minimal budget as part of the Denial Machine, one has to wonder if the ‘denialist’ are into micromachinery really.

            OTOH I can tell you exactly what evidence I’d need to believe myself in the Denial Machine…namely, that it IS different from any other contemporary political lobby. And yes, you can use Big Tobacco’s decade-long campaign as a template.


  2. […] denials and doubts by the tobacco industry and climate change deniers, check out the video “Rhymes with Smokey Joe.” For a fuller account of the climate change denial apparatus, see: […]


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